In August 1998, it was widely reported that the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club had unveiled a tablet commemorating Sir Edward Elgar’s attendance at their Molineux ground.
A rumour soon started spreading that Elgar had written the “first football chant”.
Elgar had indeed written a short phrase in 1898 in which he set the phrase “He banged the leather for goal” to music. The phrase came from a newspaper report of the game and it caught Elgar’s imagination. At the time he was working on Caractacus, and the sketch shows that the words were intended (jokingly) as a recitative for Caractacus himself.
Back in 1998 I transcribed the sketch as a very MIDI small file which I’ve now converted to the mp3 presented here.
The full story of Elgar’s composition is given in “Memories of a Variation” by Mrs Dora Russell.